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Buildings, budget, breaks approved

The first regular meeting of the McCreary County Board of Education since the resignation of Superintendent Donnie Wright went as smoothly as possible Tuesday night as several issues were discussed during the 2.5 hour meeting.

After recognizing Girl Scouts from Pine Knot Primary and several award-winning students from McCreary Central, the Board got down to business at hand.

A great deal of the meeting was devoted to looking at plans to complete needed construction and repair projects preparing to get underway across the School District.

One of the first items handled was awarding the bid for the roof replacement project at Pine Knot Intermediate School. Of four bids submitted, the Board opted to go with the lowest estimate of $875,000, submitted by Riddle Construction out of Irvine, Kentucky. The bid is considerably lower than the initial estimate of over $1 million.

The project is slated to start as soon as possible after the end of the school year, and should be completed before the start of the new year – weather permitting.

The Board also declared the foundation repair project at McCreary Middle School as an emergency, starting the process to fast-track the project to get it started as soon as possible.

Both the roof and foundation projects will be funded through the School Facilities Construction Commission Offer of Assistance program, which will allow the District up to $2.9 million in funding potential.

Two other projects given the green light Tuesday include installing a new gym floor at the high school, and the construction of a field house and locker rooms at the softball field. The project will also include repair work for the leaky roof at the baseball field and indoor batting facilities at both locations.

Both of those projects will be funded through construction funds left over from the high school renovation.

The Board also approved the school calendar for the 2015-16 school year.

According to the new calendar, the school year will start on August 19, pushed back a week to allow for extra time to complete the construction projects. A fall break is scheduled for October 8-9, with students getting off the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as well. Spring break will be from April 4-8, with those days to be used as make up days if needed. If no school is missed due to weather, the final day will be May 13.

Board member Roxanne Shook was the only dissenting vote concerning approving the tentative budget, which reflected the changes made last month to reduce the deficit.

The total budget, which must be sent to the Kentucky Department of Education by May 30, totals $31.7 million for the coming school year.

Two bids were entertained for insurance coverage for the coming school year. Buddy Wilson from Crabtree Wilson and Phillips Hunt from Ohio Casualty gave presentations concerning coverage costs from both companies.

Hunt’s proposal for Property/Liability coverage came in about $12,000 less than Wilson’s, but Hunt was not able to obtain a quote for Workman’s Comp insurance due to a high rate of claims in the District.

The Board voted to award the Property/Liability to Ohio Casualty, and Workman’s Comp to Wilson’s company.

The Board also approved spending about $30,000 out of Food Service funding to upgrade all point of sale units at all schools. The upgrades will allow for greater accuracy when recording daily free and reduced lunch usage.

A District- wide hiring freeze was enacted until an interim Superintendent can be hired.

The Board tabled approving the 2015-16 Salary Schedule after questions arose concerning positions that had received a reduction in extended days, which are considered vital to daily operations of the District.

Also tabled was approving a request from the MCHS Site Based Decision Making Council to abolish a science, social studies, title I Instructional Assistant position as well as half a music, physical education and curriculum coordinator position.

The SBDM also requested creating a health & physical education and a .5 Athletic Director position.

Board Chairman Brandon Kidd stated he was waiting for word from Board Attorney Jeff Hoover, who was unable to attend the meeting, on what actions the Board needed to take concerning the positions.

Acting Superintendent Aaron Anderson stated the SBDM had control of how they spent their annual staffing allocations, but the Board only had the authority to abolish and create positions.

A special meeting is expected to be called before the end of the month to take up the tabled issues.

The next regular scheduled meeting of the McCreary County Board of Education will be on June 23 at 6:30 p.m.

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